Sacred peaks: Greek monasteries on steep cliffs

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — 200 steps need to be overcome to get to Rusan – an Orthodox monastery located on a high sandstone rock. But all the efforts are worth it.

Meteora Monasteries in Greece – a miracle of engineering. Located on sandstone cliffs, cells hide in crevices. Such Greek Orthodox churches are an ideal place for solitude, which the monks who built these structures in the XIV-XVII centuries sought. In the smallest monastery, Rusan, or St. Barbara (pictured above), 16 nuns now live, the main shrine is the relics of St. Barbara the Great Martyr.

How to get there

For centuries, monasteries fell, climbing rocks using folding stairs (and sitting in mesh baskets). Access to holy places was difficult – only true believers fell into Meteora. Today, everything is much simpler: there are convenient tunnels, roads and stairs leading up. Anyone can visit the mountain temples. It is better to inspect meteors with a guide in order to truly join in their rich history.

What will you see

Inside: Byzantine murals of the 16th century cover the walls and dome of the temple (see images of planets, peacocks and seraphim).

Outside: take a look down when you cross the small bridge leading to Rusana – and you will see the monastery’s garden, advises George Korelis, travel specialist in Greece. And then look up to see eagles, falcons and vultures in the sky.

What else to see

Near Rusanu there are 16 hermetic caves (take suitable shoes to climb the slopes) and five more active mountain monasteries (originally there were 24).

In the Preobrazhensky monastery, for example, the skulls of the monks who lived there are kept. And you can see the bright, well-preserved paintings on the walls and the stove of the XIV century. Most churches suffered from looting in the 20th century, but were rebuilt.

“The Rusanu Monastery is located in Meteora on a steep cliff, surrounded by high cliffs. He looks small, like a nest of swallows, ”- Patrick Lee Fermor, Rumeli

In numbers

60 million years – the average age of rock formations

200 steps to overcome to get to the Rusanu Monastery

4 hours from Athens by car

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